Yesterday it was confirmed that Taylor Swift will perform at the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s biggest annual horse race. The Melbourne Cup, which takes place on November 4, is a pretty big deal; the first one happened in 1861, and people are given the day off work.
Taylor will perform two songs off her album Lover, which seems like a pretty easy gig. But a few of Taylor’s fans and animal activists are upset that she’d agree to such an appearance. Because according to some people, the horses are often used up and tossed aside faster than one of Taylor Swift’s boyfriends.
BuzzFeed reports that Taylor’s fans are concerned, as there have been a number of horse deaths in recent years. During last year’s Melbourne Cup, a horse named The Cliffsofmoher fractured his right shoulder and was euthanized right there on the track. And as if that wasn’t awful enough, The Cliffsofmoher was reportedly the sixth horse to die at the race since 2013. Six horses in five years? Shoot, even HBO’s Luck is like, “Yeah, that’s kind of a lot of horse corpses.”
And it’s not just a problem in Melbourne. According to TIME magazine, 6,134 racing horses have died or were euthanized in the past ten years in North America alone (that number doesn’t include deaths from training). So it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise that there are people in Melbourne who are boycotting the Melbourne Cup. And some of those anti-horse racing fans expressed their disappointment in Taylor on social media:
I’m honestly surprised @taylorswift13 is performing at the Melbourne Cup considering how abusive it is towards the horses. Horses are known to die almost immediately after the race (sometimes during) due to the cruelty sustained by them at the hands of their Jockey’s.
— 𝓛𝓸𝓿𝓮, Sydney 🏹 I’m New York City (@sydneyspeaksnow) September 11, 2019
taylor performing in the Melbourne Cup is like if she came to Spain to perform in a bullfight, i wouldn't go because they treat bulls SO. BAD. and this isn't about being international, y'all are using the international card because it's an opportunity to see Taylor live and NO.
— loveronica (@soitfuckingoes) September 11, 2019
I get that Taylor rarely comes to Australia and I’m so sorry international fans don’t have a lot of opportunities but it’s 2 songs… it’s not a whole set… horses are dying and being abused like are two songs really more important?
— Audrey // “I LOVE YOU TOO” (@PetermanAudrey) September 11, 2019
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses started the hashtag #NupToTheCup and wants Taylor to follow it.
Some fans think Taylor was sort of tricked into the event by a guy named Michael Gudinski, who is pretty high-ranking in the Australian music industry. Michael and Taylor have worked together before, and he is allegedly the person who convinced Taylor to play the race. Her fans believe she didn’t do her research first before agreeing, because she trusted her working relationship with Michael.
So far, Taylor hasn’t responded to the criticism surrounding her horse racing performance. And either she won’t, and she’ll show up in a sunhat on race day. Or she’ll pull out when she realizes it won’t be a great look to be singing You Need To Calm Down as a scared, injured horse is dragged off the track. I just want to know who on Taylor’s team thought a horse race was an on-brand venue. If Taylor is going to perform in a venue surrounded by animals that close to the holidays, it better be a promotional tie-in for Cats at a kitty fashion show. Plus, the only questionable animal cruelty you’ll find are not-impressed felines in tacky synthetic fabrics.